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U.S. Marshals Arrest Missing Child Porn Suspect

Posted at 10:50 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 23:50:46-04

U.S. Marshals tracked down and arrested a missing child porn suspect leading Murfreesboro police to expand their investigation.  

A simple careless mistake led Murfreesboro police to an accused sexual deviant. He ran, but U.S. Marshals tracked him to a hideaway out of state.

With the arrest, police have expanded their investigation into the suspect's huge collection of child pornography, and locating potential underage victims.

The suspect lived in a trailer off West College Street for the past three years, and detectives want to know what he was up to during all that time.

Shawn Costales, 49, was arrested for allegedly having child pornography on his cell phone.

"We learned there were over 100 images from toddlers to pre-teen," said Sgt. Kyle Evans with the Murfreesboro Police Department.

"To hear that I was pretty shocked I got to say - dumbfounded. I couldn't believe it," said Larry Putman who lived next door to Costales.

He said Costales, who worked as a truck driver, made a mistake which led police right to his doorstep.

"He accidentally left his cell phone in the work truck and his partner found it and turned it in to the office," said Putman.

The manager alerted police who contacted Costales just after July 4th. Putman remembered seeing him that very day rushing to throw out dozens of bags of trash.

"You think he might have been disposing of evidence? Obviously, that's exactly what he was doing," said Putman.

Then Costales disappeared. But working a series of tips, U.S. Marshals and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tracked him to a small town in South Carolina.

He was brought back to Rutherford county on more than 100 charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. Sgt. Kyle Evans said the case has not been closed.

"Anytime you are engaged in this much, it's entirely possible you are involved in the production or sale of these illegal images," said Sgt. Evans.

So the investigation remained open and part of what police will be looking at now is whether any of the child pornography recovered was produced in Costales' trailer.

Costales was being held in the Rutherford County jail on a half-million-dollar bond.